Ukrainian Relief Efforts: One Year Later
It’s been nearly one year since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, we have been in prayer for both countries and have seen many individuals step up to help in whatever way possible. This includes many missionaries and church leaders, whose efforts have been supported by partners like you.
Through the Ukrainian Relief fund, European church leaders have been able to feed, clothe, house, love, befriend and pray with many Ukrainians. We are endlessly thankful for the ways God has seen, blessed and provided for these efforts.
Kevin and Cindy Austin, Global Partners missionaries in the Czech Republic:
We have heard many stories from the 30 Ukrainian guests (women and children) that stayed with us after the war started. Some stayed in our flat (here in the Czech Republic) for a few days and some for several weeks. Many have become close friends and now live within walking distance. We celebrate birthdays together, meet for tea, go for walks…and we ache, as they show us pictures of their home cities, before and after the bombs. We use our phones to translate and share many tears and long hugs. One week around Christmas, two families brought us Christmas gifts of Ukrainian holiday foods!
It has also been a huge blessing to work with Christians in Ukraine, sending money, generators, power stations, food, blankets and clothing. One church in Kyiv has used those resources to set up Light Hubs in 15 churches around the country. In each location, people from the community are welcomed in for hot meals and a warm place to hang out, and to charge their phone. Another church in eastern Ukraine has been able to provide food and clean water and clothing to hundreds of people who have lost almost everything.
Our hearts especially break for the kids. All of the boys we know just want to go home. They want to be with their dads and grandpas and older brothers and cousins. Learning Czech and trying to fit in at school is hard. Often their teachers are overwhelmed and frustrated, and many kids sense that others resent their being here.
One family (a mom and her two kids) stayed with us in March and again in June. *Alina now has a job at a factory, and an apartment which they shared with three other women for several weeks. Recently, her husband and his parents were able to come to our city. Alina’s husband was allowed to leave Ukraine because his brother (a fireman) was killed when a missile hit his truck while en route to a burning building, so he is solely responsible for his parents.
They are safe here, but like most of the Ukrainians that we know, they just want to go home. For many, their neighborhoods and livelihoods are no longer there, but it’s still home.
Lord Jesus, help us to show Your love in this hard season.
The Ukrainian Relief fund has also blessed efforts aided by Piotr Gasiorowski, the pastor of the Wesleyan church in Kraków, Poland. The fund will continue to help through the spring. Piotr wrote:
“We have been carrying out activities aimed at helping those who lost their homes, families and a place to live as result of the war. As time passes, needs also change and we try to do everything to support those who suffer.”
Piotr has been part of a storefront created to provide free food and clothing to those in need. “At the moment, we have issued over 6,000 food parcels and distributed several hundred kilograms of clothing and hygiene products,” he wrote.
The storefront, located in the Kraków Wesleyan chapel, is open for six hours Monday through Saturday and employs two people. Recently, Piotr said they raised additional funds of $20,000 which will cover almost 100% of the cost of operating the store until the end of February 2023.
In April, Wesleyan Emergency Relief Funds (WERF) helped with the purchase of a Wesleyan relief cargo van to transport supplies into Ukraine. Piotr said they recently resumed these trips but this time with power generators or oil heaters.
“We delivered 37 oil heaters to Kherson. Now we want to collect funds for the purchase of more heaters, which go to hospitals, schools and sometimes to the army,” Piotr said.
“Thank you very much for your prayers and support. We want to continue our activities until spring, so as to help both those who live in our country and those who have decided to stay in Ukraine and are deprived of electricity and heating to survive the winter.”